Wednesday, July 10, 2013


I just got back from a few days in The Windy City of Chicago (actually wasn't windy at all... occasionally a little breezy but mostly just really humid and hot, with a tiny bit of rain). My travel buddy and I went to some museums, ate at interesting restaurants, went and saw some live jazz, went to a movie, and just walked around a whole bunch and enjoyed the sights.

A little glimpse of downtown from our hotel room on the 12th floor.

Exchequer Restaurant and Pub- our first meal when we arrived that night. We just had to try some Chicago style pizza, and it was delicious. So innovative to have sauce, toppings, then more cheese, or however it is they did it. There was lots of cheese.
Lou Malnati's Pizzeria- More pizza, we ordered a pizza here one of the other nights. It was slightly better than Exchequer's pizza, in my opinion at least. Pizza at this place was like, toppings, cheese cheese cheese, sauce on top. Maybe some sauce snuck in with the "toppings" too (which were not really "topping" the pizza per se since they were bundled in with the other layers). Every time we passed by this place the line was out the door so we just ordered, picked it up and took it back to our room because we knew it had to be good but didn't want to stand in line for half an hour and then be crammed into a restaurant stuffed with people.
Grahamwich- A cute little sandwich shop, very reminiscent of San Francisco. Really sunny, seating was "family style" with comfy leather ottomans pulled up to a simple wooden table, with chalkboard drawings of vegetables on the wall. They had super healthy fruit juices, and a variety of tasty sandwiches and salads. I got the pastrami sandwich, very fresh tasting and filling.

Russian Tea Time- We had a light dinner here on our last night of some beef and potato dumplings and a lamb samsa, all served with leafy green salad, carrot salad, and rye bread.
Berghoff Cafe- got a tasty lunch here, a pulled pork sandwich and a bottle of their own house brewed root beer. Very classy little cafe below ground level, with stained glass windows.

Toni Patisserie and Cafe- a delightful little French cafe where we got brunch one morning. I got a slice of quiche lorraine, an iced mocha, and some macarons.

Each table had pretty flower arrangements, like this one.

Sugar Bliss Cake Boutique- Here we got a dozen mini cupcakes, with fun flavors like banana, strawberry, pumpkin, chocolate, vanilla, mocha.. all with just a few decorative dollops of frosting on the top so they weren't too sweet.

Smith Museum of Stained Glass- a pretty little museum at the Navy Pier, where you could walk down hallways and little rooms to see different scenes depicted in stained glass windows.
The Field Museum- A pretty neat museum of various aspects of natural history. We saw exhibits on creatures that glow in the dark on land and under the sea, the original Native American tribes, ancient wall paintings discovered in France, and mammal and bird exhibits too.

Jazz Showcase- We caught the last hour of a show here at half price, and it was more than worth the money. Excellent musicians on the trumpet, piano, bass, an instrument kind of like a xylophone, and a full set of drums. Each of them were really into their instrument, given solos that were met with a wave of applause each time.

Millenium Park-  A vibrant community park, home to The Bean, some lovely plantlife, and a big fountain where kids love to cool off on humid summer days.

The Bean, a truly awe-inspiring work of art.

This fountain was really interesting, different faces would show on these LCD screens on these brick structures on each side, while water sprayed down the sides and onto the street to make a little pool that kids could walk on. 

Despicable Me 2- Went and saw this movie at an AMC theater near us, very funny and cute. I actually hadn't seen the first of the series but the movie stood well on its own. 

Random observations-
Gambling is totally not ok on the trains. They mentioned this several times over the intercom on the train. No soliciting, either.
Kids everywhere, but hey, I guess that's how it is in a touristy place.
The Shedd Aquarium has the longest line all the time.
Humidity is kind of exhausting, important to drink water all the time and take breaks every few hours to relax in an air conditioned hotel room.
So it was a really fun few days, always something to do and see. The city is a bit noisy, trains constantly passing by overhead, lots of people... but, it was cool to see what Chicago was like!


  1. What a nice synopsis. How about some pics of you?
    So there is actually parking on the rooftops?
    I bet the live jazz was well attended and nice to listen to.

    1. I'll send you a picture I took of myself. I am sure there is some parking on the rooftops, but I didn't take any photos from there. Lots of people went to the live jazz, it was a great set.

  2. How fun! Chicago is on my list of places to visit. Glad you are having a fun summer, Jen!

    1. Yes, it was pretty fun :). There's plenty to do in Chicago. Above all I'd recommend getting pizza at Lou Malnati's. Hope you're having a fun summer too, Jen!

  3. Hey, Jen!

    Excuse me a sec'...either my ears are deceiving me, or my tummy really is making grumbling sounds. Should have had lunch before daring to venture over to a website entitled Epic Treats. Sounds like your experience in Chicago may mean an encore visit in the future.

    Loved reading your report about where you guys actually ate, and where you ventured out & about to see the sights and sounds of this great city. Given the mouthwatering food, great music, and spectacular sights & sounds, Are you giving the Windy City two thumbs up? Care to venture back someday?

    What's next up ahead on your Summer planner? Enjoy your day!

    1. Hi Al! I know, I am craving Chicago pizza right now just thinking about it. There is supposed to be a place in Berkeley that has Chicago style pizza so maybe I will check it out today while I am over there. We will see if I ever make it back to Chicago some day, but there are plenty of other places I want to check out still.. like Canada, and likely a return visit to New Orleans. How's your summer going?

  4. Hey, Jen!

    Good morning! Just made my version of a California omelet, yay, me! Always look so forward to Sunday mornings, especially lately 'cause it seems like the only day I can do pretty much whatever at my leisure. Brunch w/freshly squeezed orange juice & the BIG Sunday paper makes for a delightful way to start things off.

    Were you able to sink your teeth into a delicious slice of Chicago style pizza when you ventured out to Berkeley? Well worth the trip if so. My taste buds are clamoring away at just the thought of it (down boys!) Mmm, mmm good stuff. Am glad you are considering a return trip back to Chicago someday. Hope Canada and your all-time favorite, New Orleans, makes for some fun and exciting times/adventures when you visit. You always seem to have a delightful time down in New Orleans. What continues to bring you back there, and then back again, and again?

    Am heading out later today to a couple of events> & which are only about 10-12 minutes apart along Interstate 90. Skies look clear and sunny so should be a great day ahead. Wearing sandals, a white polo and khaki cargo shorts, but bringing along my light NY Yankees windbreaker just in case it's much cooler this evening down along the waterfront.

    Hope all is well. Happy Sunday! wishes to you, Jen!

  5. Hi Al, I agree, Sunday mornings are pretty nice. It's the classic day to get up late and have brunch. I actually didn't make it out to Berkeley because I decided to go to San Francisco instead, but in San Francisco I had a great sandwich from one of the local market delis. On Wednesday I am venturing out to Berkeley so maybe I will find the pizza place then :). Not sure when I will make it back over to New Orleans, but maybe sometime. Just some enticing mixture of the delicious food, the jovial atmosphere, the Jazz music, and the beautiful architecture and nature bring me back and make it so I can't get it out of my mind. Hope you had a great time at those events you attended!

  6. Hey, Jen!

    Experienced great weather and a wonderful time at the canal-fest event, really a great time in comparison to last night. A frightening storm, featuring long periods of brilliant flashes of lightning and booming thunder, rolled through WNY last night. Have to admit there were a few times when I was, gulp, scared, especially when the power went out--yikes! Glad it came back on as quickly as it did--whew!

    Trust the weather in your part of the world is sunny and bright amid clear blue skies, etc. Did you manage to get over to Berkeley for a slice of Chicago style pizza? Am venturing out to the library in a few, and taking along a few dollars to nab a few slices of pizza at this great place along the boulevard on my way back. Happy Saturday! wishes to ya :)

    1. Hi Al, sorry to hear about your bad weather last night, glad everything's ok though. The weather is really nice over here, actually a little too hot, so I've been spending a fair amount of time in San Francisco where it's a bit cooler. Not sure what I will do today, haven't gotten over to Berkeley yet for their deep dish pizza.. the restaurant where I want to go only sells the thin crust per slice so I'd have to order a whole pizza... just gotta find someone to share it with me, haha. Hope you have a great Saturday :)

  7. Good morning, Jen!

    Woke up this morning to sunny skies, so that mean old weather pattern has blown over. Left extensive damage and flooding in other areas nearby, but we managed to escape safely without incurring any serious harm.

    From the sounds of it Tony Bennett isn't the only person who left his heart in San Francisco; you seem to be making it your adoptive home away from home lately. Am glad you are able to weather an excessive heat by escaping there. My taste buds and heightened sense of imagination was counting on you to reign in some of that yummy thin crust pizza, so I could at least pretend I could enjoy the experience through you. Oh, well, as long as you're safe and sound out there, the pizza can wait.

    My Saturday wasn't too bad. Took a while to respectfully disengage from an elderly fellow at the library who just seemed to want to go on and on talking about "the old days", the way things use to be, etc. Wanted to scoot sooner but was taught to respect my elders, so wasn't able to run down that slice pizza as I intended. Spent rest of the day, picking up the yard where tree branches had fallen, etc. Oh, by the way, Do you use a service called Netflix?

    Better scoot for now. Hope an amazing day awaits you, Jen.

    1. Hi Al, glad to hear you're having some better weather over there. I'm kind of missing that late-autumn chill when I could actually wear sweaters and go out and get hot chocolate or a delicious caramel macchiato, but the weather will get a little chillier again eventually. I can still wear sweaters in San Francisco at least, even during the summer.

      Haha, I used to run into random people at the library who would stop and talk to me too. Glad you gave the old man a little time to reminisce. I do use Netflix, in fact I've been rewatching the entire series of Frasier. I think I'm on season 5 out of 11 seasons. After I finish that, maybe I'll check out Cheers.

      Hope you're having a good week, I haven't really been doing much, just taking it easy and hanging out with friends a bit. Making a trip out to San Francisco on Wednesday, and maybe also another day.

  8. Hey!, Jen

    Frasier is an entertaining blast. You have more amazing viewing ahead as you watch the successive seasons. Be wary of drinking a beverage when these guys are on, and have a restroom handy/nearby just in case.

    I've about giving up on the weather, because no matter what I do to prepare myself before venturing out, just the opposite happens, caught in a heavy downpour recently without the benefit of having my light windbreaker handy to hide my soaked shirt afterwards. I'm no Gene Kelly, and I was NOT "singing in the rain" either...

    Anyway, just settling in to finish reading a book, and write some. Hope an amazing day awaits you in your part of the world. Not long now, and you're be celebrating another birthday, No?

    1. Haha I know, Frasier is such a funny show sometimes.

      It certainly is odd how unpredictable and fluctuating the weather can be outside California. I'm not sure how I'd handle living in a different state, especially in the midwest or east coast.

      Today was a fun day, my housemate and her friends and I celebrated her birthday with a barbecue at this park with a lake. Soon it will be my birthday too-- next month on the 13th. We'll see what birthday fun Vancouver has to offer! :)

  9. Hey, Jen!

    Looks like you've done some elegant home décor and interior design here at your Epic Treats--looks crisp, clean and ideal for a leisurely scroll in the park on a sunny day!

    What a thoughtful thing to do @ celebrating your housemates special day. Speaking of birthdays, someone recently was sharing with me how their recent birthday celebration had taken on a twist they weren't familiar with until her office mates did it on her birthday (apparently, after singing happy birthday to her, the next person in the group in line to celebrate a birthday then cut the first piece of the cake and made a wish). Have you heard of this, or actually experienced it yourself?

    Should our electronic paths not cross again until after your birthday, safe travels north and HAPPY BIRTHDAY! :) Many happy returns, Jen.

    1. Thanks Al, glad you like my new layout :). I actually went to the park today in Vancouver, my friend and I made up a game which was a combination of bocce ball and raquetball.

      That sounds like an interesting birthday twist I had not yet heard of. I've celebrated my birthday a little early with my family so far by attending our family reunion and having cake/ cupcakes and also with my parents and sister and her boyfriend we went out to dinner at this local seafood restaurant I like. Then my parents got me a travel pillow and dvd, and pretty hanging stained glass butterfly for my apartment.